Long Peppers, molecular classification and Meningioma Day

4 min read

A chemical compound found in the Indian Long Pepper plant (Piper longum), is known to kill cancerous cells in many tumour types, including brain tumours. Now an international team have used cryo-electron microscopy to illuminate how piperlongumine works against glioblastoma. Evidently, piperlongumine binds to -- and hinders the activity of -- a protein called TRPV2, which is overexpressed in glioblastoma in a way that appears to drive cancer progression. Piperlongumine treatment radically shrank glioblastoma tumours and extended life in two mouse models and also selectively destroyed glioblastoma cells taken from human patients.

Tumour molecular classification: A Gateway to precision medicine. Applying this concept to children with brain tumours, this is a fascinating longer read. Traditionally, brain tumours were classified by their histologic cell type, for instance, astrocyte or oligodendrocyte. With the progress that has been made understanding tumours molecularly the most recent update to the World Health Organization (WHO), classification scheme accounted for important and recurrent molecular tumour characteristics. This new appreciation that tumours can harbour specific recurrent mutations paves the way for targeted therapies, which consider a paediatric brain tumour’s distinctive molecular makeup. The next update to the WHO classification is expected later this year and it is highly likely that the outputs from our Research Centres and BRAIN UK will inform this report.

More on paediatrics and you may be interested that Dr Matthew Murray will be presenting at May’s Genomics England Research seminar on a paediatric brain tumour patient and how Whole Genome Sequencing (WGS) helped manage the case. More information on how to join the seminar is here www.genomicsengland.co.uk/about-gecip/events/

In case you have missed some of my recent updates and haven’t seen what has been happening at our research centres then an update on new papers published from Plymouth and Queen Mary University of London can be found on the National Cancer Research Institute (NCRI) April newsletter.

The Society for Neuro-Oncology (SNO) have announced a special one-day conference, for 2021 Meningioma Day. Entitled “Current management strategies and future directions” it will take place virtually on May 15, 2021, from 8:20 a.m.- 4:15 p.m. EST (minus 5 hours from UK BST) This education day will focus on meningiomas: a look at current management strategies and a preview of what the future might hold. The talks will centre around surgery & adjuvant therapy of challenging meningiomas, clinical updates in meningioma management and trial design, as well as basic and translational advances in the study of meningioma biology. Meningioma Day will be open to all and the joining details are here.

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